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This blog  relates directly to the Ramshackle Empire that the EU is becoming. This is both negative and positive.

The downside is the expansion of the empire eastwards. Since the start of the incorporation of Ukraine as its most easterly acquisition the eastern boundary is now likely to be the Donetsk Oblast. Russia is of course contesting this – it would be strange if it did not, as east of the Donbas lies the River Don, and from there it is only 400 km to Volgograd/Stalingrad.

The upside is that as the now bloated empire expands eastward it becomes more centralised and more ungovernable. The addition of some 40 million Ukrainians into the Ramshackle Empire may take some years to complete but it will make the Joint Decision Trap even more acute, and also put even more distance between the EU and the already marginalised electorate’s indirect relationship to the Council and to the Commissariat in Brussels. The EU will necessarily become even more centralised and authoritarian than it is now.

I’ve made the Eastern Campaign a major focus of my research, partly because the approach to Stalingrad across the River Don took place around the time of my birth. The main books I used were

Alexander Werth Russia at War: 1941-1945 (Pan Books, 1964)

Alan Clark Barbarossa: The Russian-German Conflict 1941-1945 (Penguin Books, 1966)

Antony Beevor Stalingrad: the fateful siege 1942-1943 (Penguin, 1998)

Within this, I wrote two articles on panzer warfare:

Tank doctrines from the First to the Second World Wars” Australian Journal of Defence Studies (October 1977) Vol.1 No.2 pp.133-48

Professional ideologies and organisational structure: tanks and the military” European Journal of Sociology 1983 Vol.24 pp. 223-40 (this I have always thought was the best article I ever published, combining comparative tank doctrines with the concept of negotiated order developed by Anselm Strauss).

More recently I have read Antony Beevor Berlin: the downfall 1945 (Viking Press, Penguin Group) 2002 which explains much about German attitudes to Russia. This is what Beevor writes in the second paragraph of the preface on p. xxxiii:

“The Nazis enemies had first been able to visualize their moment of vengeance just over 2 years before. On 1 February 1943, an angry Soviet colonel collared a group of emaciated  German prisoners in the rubble of Stalingrad. `that’s how Berlin is going to look !´ he yelled, pointing to the ruined buildings all around. When I read these words some six years ago, I sensed immediately what my next book had to be.”

In the Guardian 28 Feb 2014 (at 5.43 p. GMT):

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Putin in their call Friday that steps toward escalation must be avoided, her spokesman said. “She also urged restraint over Crimea,” her spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement quoted by Reuters.”

Merkel on Friday also called Ukraine’s new Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk to pledge her support.”

Above this, on the same page, at 5.09 pm GMT, the four heads of government of the Visegrád Group (for more information see also the Wikipedia item) Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, also pledged their support for the new Prime Minister:

“In a statement, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said they told their Ukrainian counterpart that they were there to “support the government which was just created.”

The point of this is to note how the EU heads of Government have all agreed in advance on supporting the unelected Prime Minister of Ukraine even before the results May elections in Ukraine are known.

What has stimulated this change is the attempt by the EU to move its boundaries far into Russian-speaking territory, including the Crimea, and much of eastern Ukraine. It is quite clear that its aim went far beyond an association with Ukraine. It is designed to absorb it all, including the Russian population.

This is the place I will put down my thoughts about the EU. Sweden first joined the EU in 1995, at a time when both the Maastricht Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty were no more than the wet dreams of militant federalists. The Cold War and the demonization of Russia is sadly back. I have always been suspicious of the EU but the latest adventure of trying to absorb the whole of the Ukraine is for me the last straw.

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